Thursday, 2 July 2009

For Those About To Write - We Salute You!

What's this? Another blog entry just shy of 2 weeks after my last one!? It can't be!

One blog entry for June is a pretty poor showing, don't you think? I blame the CBBC competition, the AC/DC concert, London and the day job. All of these (maybe not the day job) will get a mention in the following post, which will be quite long. So, grab yourself a nice cup of tea (preferably Yorkshire), a biscuit or three (preferably chocolate Hob Nobs) and a comfy chair (preferably your own) and sit back, relax and enjoy the ramblings...

First up, the infamous CBBC script...

A few of us blogo-types have been working hard for the past month to hammer out something decent to send to the BBC. As mentioned in my last blog, I was doing a major re-write on mine and think that it's now a lot better than the original. I still think I could have improved it further, but I just ran out of time and even had to send it via Special Delivery, to ensure it got there before the deadline (it actually got there on the very last day!)

In my last post I mentioned the possibility of handing it in myself, as I was in London last weekend, but it still wasn't finished so that idea was a no go. In fact, I looked on Google maps and saw that Grafton House (the Writersroom HQ) is just up the road from where I stayed in Marylebone! No harm done anyway, it got there safe and sound (so the Royal Mail website says...)

I really enjoyed writing this script and I think this is the first time that I've actually understood what a proper "re-write" is. In previous scripts I've just "tinkered" - you couldn't really call them full re-writes. But my CBBC entry totally changed direction. There were a couple of scenes that survived and expanded but the overall story arc changed dramatically! For the better I think.

It's quite scary when you come to actually sending the thing away for professional scrutiny. I always feel that it could be improved further and if it wasn't for the deadline I'd probably improve it forever! I'm still working on the script that was going to be an entry to Channel 4's "Coming Up" competition, because I'm still not getting the feeling that it's the best I can do!

I suppose there comes a time when you just have to say "That's enough! It's ready for human consumption!" There are always extra bits I want to add but half an hour is quite limiting, so you have to cut out bits that you quite like, but that aren't really necessary for the flow of the story. I save all these bits up though, ready to sneak into future episodes!

So, after frantically checking for errors and carefully printing and binding the script on Monday, it's gone. I haven't read through it since because I'm worried about spotting more mistakes that I can't do anything about now!

One small error I did make, which I realised too late, was putting "The End" at the end (funnily enough) when I should really have put "End of Episode". The reason this is such an annoying error is because it ends on a cliffhanger and "The End" makes it feel like there won't be an explanation for it all. But, I suppose the readers aren't going to say "This is fantastic! The best script we've ever read! Get this man on the phone immed... oh hang on... what's this? The End? THE END? Forget it! Another one for the pyre..."

Ok, so any other areas of business?

Oh yeah, the Rock-Band-A-Thon that took place a couple of weeks ago...

What a brilliant night/morning that was! Me and 4 of my brothers (yes, I said FOUR - I actually have SIX brothers) staged an all night Rock Band session in anticipation of the AC/DC concert the following week. My younger brother has the AC/DC Rock Band game, so we played that (and Rock Band 2) from about 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon to 5:00am Sunday morning. Much alcoholic beverages were consumed and a few pizzas were mutilated during the event.

Here's one of me playing Iron Maiden's "The Number of The Beast" on "Hard" difficulty (probably):

How Rock and Roll is that China Cabinet!? ;)

And here's one of my niece who stood in as the support act before the main session got going. She was surprisingly good on the drums, especially as she's never touched a drumstick in her life before (apart from the chicken variety). You haven't lived until you've rocked hard to "Spongebob Squarepants - Best Day Ever".

Yes, she's a Wolves fan!

Ok, so that was the prelude to the main event...

... AC/DC at Wembley Stadium...

As mentioned in my last post, I'm not a "rocker" but I do appreciate good music and great concerts! I can honestly say it was THE BEST concert I've ever been to in my life! - I actually went to the Queen's "Party at the Palace" in 2003 (I was one of the lucky winners!) which was amazing - but this was better!

Just visiting Wembley Stadium was an event in itself. It's HUGE!

That's not an ice-rink, that's the covering they put over the pitch!

AC/DC totally blew the roof off! Not that the roof was on in the first place, but if it was, it would have been blown off! So it's a good thing that they didn't put the roof on, because... (you get the idea)

Angus Young is a total genius on guitar. I've always been a big fan of Slash (the guitar player, not taking a pee) but after seeing Angus in action, I think he raises the bar so high, there's ice on it!

All of the fans were brilliant too. Extremely well behaved - there was a real sense of camaraderie amongst everyone. The weather was great, the pyrotechnics all worked flawlessly and there were no sound problems. It really was a shining example of the perfect gig! Hat's off to the Wembley Stadium staff and promoters!

If you want a sense of the scale of this thing, check out this video.

And for a song you've definitely heard of (and some Angus action),check out this one.

The only downside was that they tried to charge my brother £24.00 for 2 beers and 2 burgers! That's outrageous! It should only have been a much more respectable £19.00!!! Ahem!

After the concert, we went out for a few drinks around London (mostly in Leicester Square) which was great! I've never been around London at night and I was totally amazed by the amount of people wondering about at 2:30am! It was like the middle of the day! Even the shops were open! It was quite a sight!

There were even a LOT of people in Trafalgar Square (at 2:00am) laying out candles and flowers for Michael Jackson. There was even someone dressed in his famous red "Thriller" suit (who I think ended up in one of the fountains!)

After a lovely 4 hour sleep we got up and enjoyed an "all you can eat" breakfast in the hotel, which actually turned into an "all you can find" breakfast, as they seemed reluctant to put out any more food once we'd finished our first helping!

Then we jumped on the tube and spent a few hours walking around London. I'd forgotten how HUGE everything is! Statues, buildings, the Thames, people! I loved it and the weather held out for us too. I know some of you probably live in and around London, so forgive me if I sound all "Ooooh Ahhhhh!" I live in the Wolverhampton, so London is a "bit" different and exciting!

So, with that in mind, here's a random shot of the London Eye for your viewing pleasure!

So, a fantastic time was had by all and we got home safe and sound on Saturday night.

But, what was the best sight in London? Big Ben? Nelson's Column? Wembley?
Nope! It was this...

I nearly exterminated my pants when I saw this!

It was cool seeing a Dalek in the middle of the street! You don't get THAT in Wolverhampton! (Although the exhibition is currently in Coventry, which is just down the road...)

Finally, a big shout out to my brothers who footed the bill for most of the weekend. I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for them, so BIG UPs all round! (whatever that means).

OK, that's it for another month... But, seriously, I really will try to post more often! Some of you bloggers out there post at least once a week, so shame on me...

Of course I'll need to blog anyway, to tell you about the BBC giving me a call to invite me to the CBBC Masterclass... I wish! ;)


Neil said...

Great blog, dude. I've heard AC/DC are the BEST live act ever. Need to get myself to one of their gigs pronto!

Been pondering over my own CBBC script recently after sending it off - found loads of things that could be done better/need improving. The curse of writing is that it's subjective. It's one of those things when someone asks "What is bad writing?", you respond with "Anything I wrote last year!"

Good luck getting to the last 20 - fingers corssed for everyone! :)

Antonia said...

Well done on finishing the CBBC script, and good luck. I'm the same as you, in that I cut some scenes and added fresh ones, changing the story quite a bit in the process. For the better I think.

Fingers and toes crossed for that CBBC call.

Paul McIntyre said...

Good work on getting it all finished. I daren't look at my script now for fear of noticing wrds splt wrng.

It says on the BBC Writersroom blog that they received over 700 entries... wowsa.

Let's hope at least one of us bloggers gets through to write up a good report about the masterclass.

Splinter073 said...

Glad everyone got their scripts finished in time! It's a nailbiting week now waiting for a call! Good Luck Everyone!!

The Kid In The Front Row said...

Well done on completing and sending in your cBBC script. That's half the battle, just getting these bloody things done and sending them in. You immediately get rid of half the competition, just by doing the rare thing of completing what you set out to do. So well done man.

And as for putting 'The End' at the end, forget about it, don't worry at all-- It'll have no affect on how they interpret the ending, or whether they'll be interested in the episode or future episodes.

And yeah, Wembley Stadium is pretty big.

Splinter073 said...

Cheers Kid! Did you enter one yourself? Good Luck if you did!

Tomorrow's the day we all find out!